Berkshire Hathaway operating profit 20% better
Bolstered by gains in its insurance and railroad division, Berkshire Hathaway posted net earnings of $5.16 billion for the first quarter, compared with $4.70 billion in the first quarter of 2014.
Berkshire's BNSF railroad division finished the quarter with a net income of $1.045 billion, up from $724 million over the same period last year.
The Omaha-based company also beat analysts' forecasts of $3.6 billion in net earnings. In addition, Berkshire Hathaway earned $3,143 per Class A share, up from $2,862 per share in the first quarter last year. Last August, Berkshire Hathaway's Class A shares moved above $200,000 per share for the first time in company history.
Berkshire Hathaway fully owns insurance giant GEICO, fast-food restaurant Dairy Queen, specialty chemicals company The Lubrizol Corporation, Helzberg Diamonds, FlightSafety International and NetJets among others.
It also owns percentages in American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, IBM, Wells Fargo, and Heinz. Earlier in the quarter, Berkshire Hathaway orchestrated a merger between Heinz and Kraft Foods Group. ■